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Internetism: The belief that the Internet will make the world a wealthier place.
The belief that the Internet will
make the world a wealthier place.
OPEN SOURCE KNOWLEDGE
This book is released as an Open Source book. This means
that you can take the content, change the book as you
please. Make yourself the co-author, insert your own
advertising. Add, delete or modify any of the words.
You can translate the book into your own language. You
can sell it (and keep all the profits). You can go through all
the words and insert your own affiliate links (explained
later in this book) and generate wealth from it.
You can take ideas and words from it and print it in your
newspapers or blogs. You can copy it word for word.
You can change this copyright (or lack of) notice if you
wish. You can improve the book and distribute it.
If you find this book or the ideas in it useful than a
contribution to www.AmirAnzur.com/Donate would be
appreciated so I can continue to develop further knowledge
but your contribution is not a requirement.
The only restriction is that you must keep Amir Anzur as a
co-author in the book.
I made this book free and open source so there were less
barriers to helping spread the message about the Internet.
To all the teachers of the world.
Whether they be parents, authors, professors,
journalists or friends. Those that teach in whichever
capacity and format make the world a little better in
their own way.
People that inspire such as Steve Jobs and Nelson
Mandela are also some of the great teachers of the
In case you didn’t know it, you are also already a
teacher. People are following and listening to you.
Please do take knowledge from this book and teach
those around you about a better world through the
A special thank you to all the “angels” involved in helping
to develop this book - parents, brothers, sisters, cousins,
investors, colleagues, employees, suppliers, clients,
followers, fans, teachers, mentors and friends. There are far
too many people to thank and at the risk of leaving people
out, I hope you know who you are and I thank you as
always for your support.
BOUGHT ONE. GIFTED ONE.
Education and hope are rights that everyone should have. If
you donated for this book, I thank you. We have printed
and distributed another copy to an emerging part of the
world, as a gift on your behalf.
I hope the person who receives it will appreciate your gift
as much as I hope you appreciate this book.
1 Lessons from Getting a Haircut........................................6
2 How to Travel Through Time.........................................15
3 A Brief History of Money...............................................27
4 The Simple Wealth Formula...........................................30
5 Four Types of Wealth Creators.......................................56
6 How to Clone Yourself...................................................61
7 Lessons In Wealth from the Pre-Internet Age................67
8 Internetology: Impact of the Internet on Life…….…....75
9 Webonomics: Business Models for Creating Wealth
10 Quick-Start Guide to Becoming a Webpreneur……..107
11 Yellow Shirts vs. Red Shirts.......................................127
12 Final Words for the Jean-Pierres and Imrans of the
1. LESSONS FROM GETTING
If you go for a haircut in Karachi, Pakistan it will cost you
80 rupees ($1. Please note: all dollar figures are U.S.). A
similar barber in Dubai will cost you 25 dirhams ($7). Get
the same haircut in Geneva, Switzerland and it will set you
back 40 Swiss francs ($45).
Is Jean-Pierre, the Swiss barber, really 45 times better than
Imran, the Pakistani barber? Would Jean-Pierre make your
hair look 45 times better than Imran?
I have had haircuts in different parts of the world and can
say the results haven’t been much different. Swiss barbers
don’t make you look 45 times better than Pakistani barbers
or six times better than Emirati barbers. The experiences
are different, but even that depends more on the individual
barbershop than on the city. A high-end barbershop in
Pakistan offers a similar experience to a high-end
barbershop in Switzerland – but at a fraction of the price.
The Swiss barbers are making 45 times more than the
Pakistani barbers for the same work and the same time. If
anything, the Pakistani barbers have more time for a chat
and might even give you a free head massage. Even if we
adjust for higher rent, wages and other expenses in
Switzerland, the Swiss barbers are making at least 10 times
more than the Pakistani barbers while providing the same
Now you may ask: “What does a haircut have to do with
creating wealth from the Internet?” As you read on, you
will discover many of the lessons from the barbershop
carry over to the digital age.
Jean-Pierre was protected in the old economy. Imran the
barber could not compete for Jean-Pierre’s customers.
Imran didn’t have a Swiss work visa, or the capital to rent a
shop in Switzerland. Not many Swiss are going to fly to
Pakistan to get their haircut – even if it is 45 times cheaper.
But let’s say, instead of haircutting, the job was video
editing. Or graphic design. Or software programming. Or
customer support. Or math tutoring. Or a number of jobs
that didn’t exist a few decades ago but are now essential.
This change in the economy largely took place just in the
last 15 years; the world is only beginning to realize the
impact for the next decade.
The (non-barber) Jean-Pierres will face trouble now that
their jobs are not location-dependent, while the Imrans will
have opportunities. Jean-Pierre can no longer charge his
local customers 45 times what Imran charges, unless, of
course, he has a trusted brand, strong relationships, a
production process unique to his locale or significantly
better service. But the Imrans of the world can now get in
the game. The Internet means they are no longer restricted
by their passport and can serve customers in Switzerland,
or anywhere else across the globe, from their home
villages. This means their home countries can avoid the
brain drain that plagued them in recent history.
Questions of Inequality
One question that might have occurred to you is: “Why are
some people rich and others poor?” The average American
earns over $45,000 per year, for example, while an average
person from the subcontinent earns less than $1,500 per
Why does poverty happen? Why is one person a millionaire
and another living without running water? Is it genetics? Is
it culture? Why are Africans “poor” and suffer from
famines? Why is China’s economy now booming and what
could other countries learn from it? Why is it that one out
of every four dollars spent around the world is by an
American (US population: 300 million) while the rest of
the 6.7 billion share the other 75% of the wealth?
I know you may not expect such deep, difficult questions at
the beginning of a book about the Internet, but it’s
important to understand these ideas before we discuss the
modern economy. When you truly understand exactly what
wealth is, you will see exactly how big the impact of the
Internet is and will continue to be in many societies and
The Internet, like the telephone, the automobile, electricity
and TV, is a tool that can help us reach our goals faster. We
need to first understand what we want to use these tools for
before we can use them effectively.
Peter Drucker, a management guru of the last century, said:
“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which
should not be done at all.” So we need to ensure the
Internet adds benefit to our lives before we try to use it.
Or as Friedrich Nietzsche said: “He who has a why can
endure any how.” The point of this book is to get you to
truly understand the “why,” because the “why” of the
Internet will give you a chance to create substantial wealth
wherever you live and whatever your education level or
financial background. Not only that, but it can help end
global poverty. Once you understand the “why,” the “how”
becomes much easier to figure out.
If you were to take up golf, the first thing you would do is
learn the rules of the game. You would need to know, for
instance, that you couldn’t throw the ball; you have to use a
golf club instead. You need to know that you have to get
the ball into the first hole first, and the 18th hole at the end.
Once you understand the rules of the game, you can start
If creating wealth is the game you want to play, first you
have to understand the game. What exactly is wealth? How
can we make more money? Why are some people “poor”
while others are “rich?” In summary, how can we create
more wealth for ourselves and maybe even help our
neighbors to create more wealth?
As an entrepreneur I have spent many years traveling to
different parts of the world, where I have witnessed great
wealth, but great poverty, too. So the question of inequality
has bugged me for a while. And if you start thinking about
a problem long enough, you start to come up with
I have spent tens of thousands of hours figuring out how to
create wealth online. I have worked with successful global
companies (such as Google, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle and
Samsung), governments (such as those in Abu Dhabi,
Dubai, Pakistan and United Kingdom) and international
associations (such as the World Trade Organization) to
understand the bigger picture of wealth creation. I have
worked with many millionaires and billionaires, but also
spent time with beggars on the streets of Delhi and
homeless people in London.
I have started companies in the U.S., the U.K., the U.A.E.,
and Pakistan. I have been educated in the U.S., the U.K.,
Belgium, Pakistan, Switzerland and the UAE. The book is
meant to give a global perspective on wealth rather than
one specific to any country.
I invested time learning how to create wealth, knowing that
someday I would go out and teach others. This book is an
important part of my teaching. The simple conclusions you
read in a few hours took me thousands of hours to figure
out. I have distilled the lessons I learned from hundreds of
books and many fine teachers, only some of whom I was
able to mention.
Whether you are Ethiopian or German, the Internet gives
you a chance to create wealth for yourself. But this book
isn’t about “how to get rich quick.” If you’re looking for a
quick score, buy a raffle ticket and hope for the best. This is
more about slowly building riches. The principles discussed
in this book will prepare you to win in the Internet
economy in the next decade. This could mean finding a life
partner, educating your children, creating a living or
advancing a cause.
The only way to truly create wealth, though, is to take
action. Knowledge, like money, doesn’t mean anything in
itself; you must use it for something.
The funny thing about humans is that they will do more for
others than they will do for themselves. If you tell parents
to quit smoking because they are harming themselves, the
response might be lukewarm, but if you tell them they are
harming their child, they are more likely to listen. Read this
book and take action for others; the wealth you create and
the lessons you pass on will only appreciate in value.
Is Wealth Possible through the Web?
The founders of Facebook are the youngest self-made
billionaires in history. In under a decade, Facebook is
valued at a similar level as General Motors and
McDonald’s, who have hundreds of thousands of
employees and took decades to reach the same level of
The founders of Google, eBay and Amazon have all also
became billionaires in the past decade.
A website you might not have heard of — Diapers.com —
sells $500 million worth of diapers through the Web every
year. Zappos.com sells over a $1 billion worth of shoes
through the Internet every year. Millions of people are
being hired through oDesk.com and Elance.com. These
sites make it possible for businesses in the richer areas of
the world (e.g., North America and Europe) to hire people
directly from poorer parts (e.g., India, Kenya, Pakistan,
Philippines etc.). No visa issues. No minimum wage.
Minimal hiring and firing costs. No flight costs. Zero
Clickbank.com has paid out over $2 billion in sales
commissions for digital information products, yet is
probably another website you haven’t heard of.
Singer Justin Bieber can thank YouTube for launching his
career and becoming a 15-year-old millionaire.
Some internet entrepreneurs share openly online how they
make money and teach others, such as Pat Flynn of
SmartPassiveIncome.com who makes over $55,000 per
month, Steve Chou of MyWifeQuitHerJob.com who made
$100,000 in sales from an online store and Andrew
Youardian of ecommercefuel who made $1.3 million from
his online stores.
I am not based in Silicon Valley, and these words are not
aimed at California insiders who invested millions of their
own dollars and realized the Web’s potential a good decade
before the rest of the world. This book is for the rest of the
A detailed analysis of France’s economy over the past few
years found that the Internet destroyed 500,000 jobs. At the
same time, though, 1.2 million Web-based jobs were
created, which is 2.4 jobs for every one destroyed. The
point is, you can see the Internet as a threat or an
opportunity. I hope by the end of this book you will see the
bright side of the digital economy, which, even if it doesn’t
benefit you directly, will give your children a better future.
So although a Jean-Pierre could see his job disappear as an
Imran can do it much cheaper and/or better, it also allows a
Jean-Pierre to now move on to a different job or find a
different way to generate wealth for himself. The basic
economics of supply and demand are not changing. The
Internet can significantly increase supply and demand. The
place you were born in or your passport is no longer going
to determine the wealth you create for yourself as the
Internet enables more people to compete.
A Jean-Pierre might have had a better education than Imran
in the past, but this is no longer the case. Anyone with
computer access can visit websites such as
KhanAcademy.org, Coursera.org, YouTube, Wikipedia,
Google and WebpreneurAcademy.com. There are
thousands of niche sites and YouTube videos that teach you
anywhere from how to open a barber shop to how to cut
Before the Industrial Revolution, the normal thing to do
was to go into the family business. If your father was a
shoemaker, chances are that you would become a
shoemaker. With the advent of machine- based production,
the more respected thing to do was to work in a large
corporation or to be employed by the government.
Smaller, more creative companies will flourish in the next
decade, as governments and large corporations begin to cut
employees. Larger organizations may make the same
revenue, but they won’t need as many people. Small is
becoming the new big.
Your parents did not make a living through the Web.
Chances are they were not entrepreneurs, either. This might
make it difficult for you to envision a life working from
home making a living off a virtual world.
You are used to seeing people go to work five days a week.
Wearing a suit. Going home at 6 p.m. Collecting a
paycheck at the end of the month. If your parents stopped
going to work, they stopped getting paid.
If you want to become a Webpreneur, you will need to
understand how the new economy works. Your parents and
teachers might not be the best source of knowledge about
Internet careers. Go out into your community and meet a
real-life Webpreneur. Go to seminars. Buy courses or
books online. Experiment. Only then will you truly believe
that starting a business is possible and convince yourself to
take further action.
The world is full of skeptics, so chances are if you want to
go for something a little unusual, people will laugh at you.
Look around and see if those people are living the life you
want in the future.
Maybe you are surrounded by people who work in office
cubicles all day, every day. Or by people who haven’t had
much financial success. If you have bigger plans that can
help change the world, you might have to break away from
these people. The whole industry is so new you need to do
your own discovery.
If you are out of school, you need to realize that in the
knowledge economy you will be an eternal student. In
order to make a living, you will need to continually invest
in your learning. The end of studying is not the day you
received your certificate.
Even if you are in school, the information in this book is
not yet taught in your curriculum. It will open your mind to
a set of careers your teachers probably didn’t know existed.
The Internet gives the learner more power. Rather than
having a teacher dictate learning terms, you can choose
what you want to study, where you want to study and when
you want to study: heck, you can even choose your teacher.
And if you are a teacher, this book will help you cope with
the constant change of this era while preparing the next
generation to succeed.
2. HOW TO TRAVEL
In the movie Back to the Future, Marty McFly (Michael J.
Fox) is able to travel to the past and the future in a time
machine. The ability to travel through time brings many
benefits. For instance, the character of Biff takes a current
sports book into the past and bets on sports games. He
creates a lot of wealth for himself, as he already knows
which team will win.
I also learned to travel through time. In 2012 I was sitting
in a coffee shop surrounded by cigarette smokers. I asked
my Emirati friend what he thought if they ever banned
smoking indoors and he said “That will never happen.
Arabs love to smoke too much.”
Back in 1999 I was based in Dublin, Ireland. I had asked
my Irish friend the same question and he said “That will
never happen. Us Irish love smoking too much.”. They
also thought a ban would never happen in Ireland. The Irish
loved smoking as much as the Arabs did. Dublin instituted
a smoking ban in 2004. London and Paris followed suit,
and in 2010 smoking was banned in Dubai – just up the
road from Abu Dhabi.
The smoking ban started in Beverly Hills, California in
1987. If you want to see Abu Dhabi’s future, at least when
it comes to smoking indoors, you can visit California. And
if you are Californian and you want to see what the past
was like, visit a restaurant in Abu Dhabi.
Knowing the future is beneficial for entrepreneurs. In the
U.K., for instance, the smoking ban meant restaurants could
no longer count on fresh cigarette smoke to mask stale
carpets or other odors. Dublin- based businesspeople could
take advantage of the looming demand for fragrances that
would be required in London (and Paris, for that matter).
They could, in essence, predict the future.
We can predict the impact of the fast-food industry on
many Arab countries. In America, McDonald’s, Burger
King, Coca-Cola and similar fast-food brands have been
popular for decades. As a result, America is one of the most
obese countries in the world; over 30% of its population is
overweight. As fast-food franchises spread to the rest of the
world, we can take steps to ensure our populations do not
develop these health problems. We can learn from the
future of junk food.
We can also see how other innovations and ideas diffused
throughout society. Electricity, the telephone, the printing
press, TV, radio and airplanes all spread across the world at
different speeds. These innovations impacted each society
differently, moving jobs from one industry to another —
and making money for those who were prepared for the
You might be living in a place where the Internet is not a
big part of your life — yet. Just as electricity and mobile
phones spread (and continue to spread) across the world, so
will the Internet. Perhaps you live in a place where you still
book airline tickets through a travel agent. In the U.S., most
people book their own airline tickets online.
There are people who benefit from any innovation and
others who lose out. You, too, will lose out unless you
The former presidents of Egypt (Hosni Mubarak) and
Tunisia (Zine El Abidine Ben Ali) could have seen the
impact of the Internet on politics. In February 2008, John
McCain, the American presidential candidate, raised $11
million for his political campaign using traditional
fundraising methods. In the same month, Barack Obama
went to zero fund-raisers and raised $55 million primarily
through the Internet. Obama took advantage of the Web not
only to help him raise money, but also to successfully
direct his campaign volunteers and followers and ultimately
Many Arab leaders underestimated the Web’s power and
were surprised when their people organized and overthrew
them. The Internet will continue to have a huge impact on
governments, as it gives people a way to connect and
organize like never before.
You can take advantage of the Internet no matter where you
are, unlike the smoking ban, in which you suffered if it
hadn’t come to your part of the world yet. If you are based
in a developing country such as Sudan and don’t have
many Internet users in your community, you can still
market to foreign consumers. You do not have to emigrate
to a major city to derive your income from there.
Ideas don’t spread around the globe instantly, and
Webpreneurs are taking advantage of this lag, which is
called arbitrage. The website Groupon.com, for example,
offers its subscribers high discounts in order to get volume
sales for its business partners. A $100 treatment at a beauty
salon, for example, might sell for $50 on Groupon. The
salon would get $25 from the sale, and Groupon would get
the other $25. The consumer would save $50. Even though
the salon gets only a quarter of the original price, it benefits
by attracting more traffic. It can then turn visitors into
repeat customers. Groupon is a hit in the U.S. and was
recently valued at over $6 billion.
Groupon, however, did not quickly enter the Middle East
and local entrepreneurs seized the market. Companies such
as Cobone.com (UAE), GroupIn.pk (Pakistan) and
Deals.Mocality.co.uk (Kenya) used similar business models
and took a big chunk of the local market before Groupon
arrived a few years later.
Similarly, eBay didn’t have the marketing reach for the
UAE, so Webpreneurs launched Souq.com to bring a
similar business model to this part of the world. These
Webpreneurs knew eBay had been successful in America
and saw an opportunity to bring the future to their country.
Amazon.com, the largest seller of books in the U.S., sells
more books for its electronic reader than it sells paper
books. If you are in the paper or printing business, you
want to assess how long it might be until “the
future” arrives in your part of the world. Some technologies
spread globally within a few years (Facebook, mobile
phones), while others can take longer (the car, air travel).
Perhaps in your part of the world, at some stage digital
books will become more popular than paper books, too.
This book will help you see the future, but the past is also
important. You can learn how to “stand on the shoulders of
giants,” that is, learn from the industry’s pioneers. Skeptics
in the Middle East, for example, say: “But people here
don’t trust the Web enough to use their credit cards online.”
Amazon.com overcame that objection in the 1990s. It is
now a multibillion-dollar business. Some solutions will
have to be localized. Online credit card use is not as
widespread in the Gulf. Emiratis, for example, still like to
use couriers such as Aramex and purchase using Cash on
But people around the world are not that different from
each other. You will see young people using the same
mobile phones no matter where they live. This generation
has a greater affinity for the world than the older
generation. A teenager in Muscat can watch Justin Bieber
on YouTube just like a teenager in New York. A few
decades ago, pop stars would have been segmented; TV
stations in Oman, say, would show only local TV stars.
Predicting the future will help you make career choices. If
you knew that the TV was coming to your part of the world
for instance, you might start a production company, an
advertising company or a TV repair shop. You might
choose to study mass communication in university.
You have to use your own trial and error to see what trends
catch on in your part of the world. Will the Groupon or
eBay business models work where you are?
You will find businesses often fail not because of the idea,
but because they were not marketed effectively. People
laughed when someone came up with the idea to sell
bottled water. Now it is as popular in the UAE as it is in the
The world we live in now allows us to follow what is
happening in other parts of the world as if we were actually
living there. For instance, someone in Angola can chat with
someone in California, watch Californian TV or take an
online course from a California university. You might be
reading about technology trends in a California newspaper
and see, for instance, that Twitter is becoming extremely
popular. But when you do your own survey of the Angolan
market, you realize Tweeting isn’t a big thing. Be careful
not to base your business around a trend that hasn’t made it
to your area yet. You want to learn from the world but be a
simple step ahead of your local market.
I can already tell you some good news from the future.
Your age, qualifications and nationality won’t limit you as
much. It used to be that if you didn’t have the right degree,
you couldn’t join the right company and you wouldn’t get
the right salary. In the Internet economy, you can short-cut
your way to a profession instead of having a corporation
dictate your career path. You can move at your own pace
rather than society dictating your speed. This implies, of
course, that it’s your responsibility to take control of your
Being the only kid on the block with a PlayStation begins
to get boring pretty quickly. You want your friends to have
one, too. It makes gaming more interesting. Owning the
only fax machine in the world is useless. The more people
who buy a fax machine, the more useful it becomes.
Driving also improved when more people started buying
automobiles. The more cars on the road, the better the roads
became. More gas stations opened and car companies
invested more in research and development and offered
more features. Even as things improved, the price of cars
In the same way, if more of us are on the Web, the better it
gets for all of us. Governments start making more services
available online. More companies offer their products
online. Education levels improve faster the more students
use the Web to learn. YouTube and Wikipedia get more
people to contribute. You can even make the case that the
Internet helps reduce poverty and makes the world safer. If
our neighbors have something productive to do, they are
less likely to steal from you.
You might be the perfect driver, but if everyone else on the
road is a bad driver, you still suffer the consequences and
get into accidents. This is why you want as many people as
possible passing driving tests. If everyone is at a standard
level of competence, we all feel safer on the road. We
should encourage everyone to achieve a basic level of
familiarity with the Web, so we all might benefit.
Moving Up the Innovation Curve
If you have studied marketing, you might have seen the
innovation curve. In essence, any innovation usually goes
through five stages:
• Early adopters
• Early majority
• Late majority
Innovators buy new products as soon as they come out.
They read all the technology magazines and wait in line for
the newest gizmo or gadget. Some of these technologies
take off while others fail at the early stages. The BetaMax
videocassette recorder, for instance, came out in the 1980s,
the same time VHS was launched. Many innovators
thought BetaMax was superior, but VHS prevailed. A
similar competition is going on right now between DVDs,
which replaced VCRs, and Blu-ray Discs, which is the
In the mid-1990s, innovators started using the Web. By
2012, over two billion people were online, 800 million of
whom use Facebook. The Internet is now in the late
majority stage, especially in the U.S., where over 78% of
the population access the Web.
The number of people who actually buy online is a lot
lower, though this too depends on where you live.
Americans, for example, spend the most money online, just
as they spend the most at bricks and mortar stores. Finally,
there are the few people — right now less than 1% of the
two billion users — who make an income from the Web.
But many people indirectly rely on the Web to help them
do business. They just don’t
realize it until their email goes down.
Most people use the Web to:
• Check email (e.g., Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail)
• Use a social network (e.g., Facebook)
• Search (Google)
• Check their bank account
• Watch videos (e.g., YouTube)
• Read news (e.g., bbc.co.uk, cnn.com)
That is, people are primarily consuming content or helping
someone else make money. Fewer people sell their
products and services through the Web.
This book will help you, if you take action, to become part
of that 1%. Our goal is to encourage people to move to the
left side of the innovation curve. If you are among the few
who are not using the Internet yet, I encourage you to start,
and if you are, I encourage you to become a Webpreneur -
someone who uses the internet to make an income.
The statistics on how the Internet is growing around the
world are illuminating. Over 30% of the world now has
access to the Internet. America has 78% penetration, while
Africa lags behind with 13.5% penetration. But the
emerging continent has the highest growth rate — 2,500%
in the past decade — and the one in 10 Africans who is
connected is most likely to have a disposable income.
The penetration of TV, electricity and telephones was also
much higher in the U.S. and eventually spread to laggards
such as Africa. This book is not a critical look at Africa; as
I explained earlier, just because there is an innovation does
not mean people should use it. America has one of the
highest penetrations of guns in the world; that doesn’t mean
more guns are good for your country, too.
Mobile phone penetration is still much higher than that of
the Internet, especially in the emerging world, and through
cell phones, the Internet will spread even faster. Access to
the Internet used to be expensive as companies had to dig
holes and lay cables in order to connect homes through
telephone lines. The cellular networks that connect mobile
phones are much cheaper because as the signal is
transmitted through the air. The same technology can now
be used to provide Internet service.
Better roads, railways and communication infrastructure in
the past century have helped the U.S. and Europe create a
lot of wealth for its citizens. As the world goes digital,
emerging countries have a great opportunity to leapfrog
others if they invest in high-speed Internet connections.
Looking at the growth numbers, it is not hard to convince
you that the Internet is here to stay; it’s just a matter of
whether you will help bring the future to your part of the
world, or wait for someone else to do it.
Internet Users As a Percentage of Population
Mobile Cellular Subscriptions (per 100 people)
3. A BRIEF HISTORY OF
Most people want to be rich, but what exactly is money? In
this chapter we will go back to the basics of wealth
creation. Remember, in order to win any game, you need to
understand the rules. If the game you want to play is Who
Has the Highest Number in his or her Bank Account, you
should understand how to achieve that number .
Let’s assume that wealth means how much money you
have. The more money you have, the richer you are. I know
money does not buy you happiness, but I am sure you
would rather be rich and unhappy than poor and unhappy.
From the Gift to the Virtual Economy
A few thousand years ago, humans lived in a gift economy.
We lived in small communities and would not expect
anything in return if we performed a task or gave
something to someone. If you caught a fish, you
would give it to your friend without expecting anything in
return. This is similar to what you might still have with
your immediate family; if you make your brother a meal,
you do not expect him to make one in return.
As communities began to grow, more people became
strangers, who were less trusted. The gift economy gave
way to bartering. Now if you had spare fish, you could
exchange them for a farmer’s spare carrots.
Eventually this, too, became a hassle. If you had spare fish
and needed shoes but the shoemaker didn’t need fish, you
would have to find a third party who had something the
shoemaker needed. Complicated, right? That’s why
commodity money was introduced.
Now you could trade your fish for coins, which you could
then spend on whatever you wanted. When you went to buy
shoes, you would hand the shoemaker a gold coin, which
he could then spend on whatever he wanted. Commodity
money was usually gold, silver, copper or even barley; that
is, it had value in and of itself.
If you imagine a large trade overseas, you can probably see
the problem with commodity money. Who wants to haul a
shipful of gold across the water? This led to the idea of
Representative money is the currency you are used to: the
dollar, the euro, the rupee, the dirham, etc. The actual coins
or banknotes are not really worth what they represent. A
$100 bill is not worth $100. We as society have agreed that
the note that says “$100” can be used to buy other products
and services that represent $100.
In the past few decades, we have even moved on to virtual
Now if you want to buy something you give the shop your
credit card, which tells your bank to subtract a number
from your bank account and add a number to the seller’s
bank account. When you do an online bank transfer the
same thing happens. Numbers are exchanged in databases
but nothing physical moves.
You can say you are a millionaire, but it’s just a number in
a database. Wealth is important, but too often we let a
number cause us stress. It works the other way, too. If you
feel financially strapped, remember, all you have to do is to
figure out how to make that number positive and as large as
possible. At the end of the day, the number still represents
value; the more fish you can catch and sell, the higher the
4. THE SIMPLE WEALTH
Now that we understand how the scoring works, let us
simplify the formula for creating wealth:
Amount of Value You Can Add
x Number of People You Can Impact
- Number of People Who Can Do What You Do
- Cost to Serve
= Total Wealth Created
If you understand basic algebra, you see you want to make
the top two parts of the equation as big as possible and the
bottom two as low as possible. Let’s look at each of the
factors and see how the Internet helps you manipulate the
A little disclaimer about the formula – this is meant to help
you understand the bigger picture of how you can create
wealth rather than a “plug and play” of numbers. Look at
increasing or decreasing the factors and how it will impact
your business or personal wealth rather than looking for
exact values to put in.
Amount of Value You Can Add
You might tip a doorman $1 since he saved you the effort
and time by opening the door for you. If you needed a heart
surgeon, you would give him $10,000 (and probably
whatever you had) since he could save your life.
The value provided by the heart surgeon is much greater
than the value provided by the doorman, which is why a
heart surgeon makes a lot more money than a doorman.
There is one thing that you and Bill Gates have in common.
We all have the same amount of time: 24 hours a day. But
the more value you can create for each of those hours, the
more wealth you will create.
The CEO of a large corporation makes over a hundred
times what an average employee makes, because if the
CEO helps 1,000 employees generate an extra $100 per
year, the corporation makes an extra $100,000 per year. If a
manager lower in the company helps all 10 of his
employees make an extra $100, the company makes only
$1,000 more. The value the CEO provides is much greater
than that of the manager, so the CEO is compensated more.
Let’s look at an example of a $20 book sold by
Amazon.com. Value is created and money paid to different
people in the chain:
• $20 is taken from your bank account and added to a
retailer such as Amazon.com.
• $1 is given to Visa for processing the credit card
transaction • $4 is given to Aramex for delivering the book
• $2 is given to the printers
• $7 is given to the publisher for marketing and distributing
• $2 is given to the author for writing the book
• $2 is given to the affiliate that helped bring the sale to
• $2 is kept as profit for Amazon
Multiple parties make money of this one transaction.
Nothing material is exchanged – databases communicate
with each other and transfer the appropriate amount to
everyone who has provided value to you.
To make money, you have to figure out a way to provide
value to the world. The more value you can provide, the
more money you will make. I am using Microsoft Office to
write this book. I paid $100 to buy a copy but feel I am
getting more than $100 worth of value and so I am happy to
have paid that price.
If you paid $20 for this book, you should get at least $20
worth of entertainment or education to feel good about the
transaction. If you think you got fair value for this book,
you are more likely to recommend it to a friend or buy my
next book. If you think you overpaid, I am not likely to
grow my businesses.
As long as you can create a large amount of value yet
charge a lower amount for that value, you will create
Using Shovels or Teaspoons
If you are asked to dig a giant hole in the ground, do you
use a teaspoon or a shovel?
The answer depends on how you are getting paid. If you are
making a high hourly wage then you might as well use the
teaspoon; the longer you can make the task last, the more
money you make. It doesn’t matter how fast you dig.
If you are an entrepreneur, chances are you are getting paid
by the number of holes you dig. You want to dig as quickly
as possible, so you would use a shovel rather than a
teaspoon; if you could find digging equipment to do the job
even faster, you would use that instead.
Remember, in most cases the world rewards you for the
value you create, not the time you spent to create that
value. For instance, do you care if this book took us a week
to write or a few years to write? The output is what you are
concerned with; if I could have created the same-quality
book in half the time, I would have doubled my return on
It is the same for most creative work. You care about the
emotional impact of the movie, the quality of the song or
the user-friendliness of the software, not how long it took
Education can increase potential value. If you didn’t know
shovels existed, you would have no choice but to use a
teaspoon. If someone demonstrated a shovel, you would
realize the tool’s dramatic effect on your hole-digging time
and use it right away. You would also quickly adopt a more
efficient shoveling technique if it were taught to you.
We used to have to write letters with a pen and paper. If
you had a business idea and wanted to tell 10 people about
it, you would need 10 hours to do the writing. If half the
people who read your letter gave you $100, you would end
up with $500 or $50 per hour. With word- processing
software such as Microsoft Word it might still take you an
hour to produce the first letter but less than a minute to
print out the other nine copies. You would still make $500
but for only one hour’s work. Technology and education in
this example have enabled you to increase your hourly rate
to $500 an hour.
It sounds basic, but this is how the wealth of nations has
been created. An American farmer has agricultural
machinery that allows him to do the equivalent work of a
hundred farmers based in Bangladesh. The American
farmer’s hourly output is significantly higher.
Education in developed countries has been traditionally
much better than in developing countries, so their citizens
have been able to produce more per hour.
Imagine a farmer in an emerging part of the world who
needs to sell his vegetables. If he doesn’t have a car, it
might take him two days to get his produce to market. A
developed-country farmer would have a truck that would
enable him to make the same journey in an hour. The value
a developed-country farmer gives to the world is higher
because of his superior equipment. Of course, fancy tools
would be useless if the farmer didn’t know how to use
them. Many people have access to the Internet, but they do
not know how to use it to save time or create wealth.
Perceived value is also important in wealth creation. You
might notice that when you buy original software, the
physical disc comes in a big package. This makes
consumers think they are getting more. Consumers are just
beginning to appreciate the value of digital products.
When you fly first-class on an airline, the airline gives you
nice cutlery, dishes and better food to increase the
perceived value of your experience and justify the cost,
which is double or triple that of an economy ticket.
If you go to a high-end barbershop, it might offer you tea or
coffee. The cost of the tea is minimal, but it improves the
experience and justifies the higher price.
Impact of the Web on Value Creation
The Internet impacts your ability to create more value and
hence more wealth. In the old economy, I as an author
would need to find a publisher. For editing, printing and
marketing our book, it would receive approximately $7 of
the $20 price. If the book were sold through a traditional
store in a shopping mall, a retailer would keep $7 to cover
its costs (e.g., rent, salaries). In the end, I would take home
Now I can publish directly through websites such as
Lulu.com and CreateSpace.com. Once I have written the
book, I simply upload it and choose the Print On Demand
service. When you order the book through Amazon, for
example, Lulu or CreateSpace prints a single copy and
ships it to you.
This drastically changes the book publishing industry. I can
do the marketing and promotion myself, then direct my
customers to order from a website, which then fills the
orders. Instead of making $2, I can now take home at least
$9 of the $20. In return for the bigger percentage, though, I
had to create more value than the traditional publisher
model. As we create more value, we make more money.
Let’s say you were a journalist before the Web came along.
You made a salary (usually relatively low) in exchange for
the articles you wrote.
The articles appeared in a newspaper, which made money
by selling advertising to accompany the articles.
In the Internet economy, you can start a blog or website and
publish the same article. Instead of having an editor vet
your stories or a salesperson sell advertising space, you can
control more of the value chain. You can start your own
free website at sites such as WordPress.com(visit
www.amiranzur.wordpress.com to see an example),
Tumblr.com or Blogger.com. You can now publish your
article for free. You do not need to pay for an expensive
printing press, a distributor to get your articles on
newsstands or an advertising salesperson.
You can then sign up for an affiliate account with
Amazon.com, which will give you 5-15% commission for
any products you help it sell. This is an automatic deal that
everyone can sign up for; you do not need an agent to
If 1,000 people come to your website and read an article,
perhaps 100 will click on Amazon’s banner, let’s say an ad
for a $10 book. Of those 100, maybe 10 end up buying the
book. Amazon gives you 10%, or $1 for every book it sells,
which means you would make $10 for every 1,000 visitors.
The nice thing about this is you don’t have to do any more
work whether 100 people visit your website or a million,
whether 10 books are sold or 1,000. Just the amount you
A second method to make money from your article is to
sign up with Google AdSense. This is also free. Google
will use a little bit of your website real estate to show ads,
which it finds for you. The search engine has an automated
program that determines what ads are most relevant to your
content and therefore most likely to be clicked. If your
website were about pets, it would display dog food ads, for
example. If someone clicks on the ad, Google charges that
advertiser $1, half of which it gives to you. Depending on
your content, you can make a lot more than $1 per click.
Advertisers for certain types of insurance and financial-
based products, for instance, pay more. In effect Google is
like a real estate agent in renting out your real estate space
to advertisers and taking a commission.
In this scenario, you took care of advertising sales (with
Amazon or Google AdSense, both of which required
minimal set-up and cost nothing), printing (your free
Wordpress/Tumbr/Blogger website; you can also buy your
own domain by visiting HostGator.com) and distribution
(people get your content on their home computers rather
than having to go to a newsstand).
You can now make money directly rather than getting a job
at a newspaper. Of course, this is not as easy as I make it
seem; your articles have to be popular and your readership
takes time to grow. But, if you have the perseverance, you
can be successful.
TheHuffingtonPost.com used this model and was
eventually bought out by AOL Time Warner for $315
million. Newspaper publishing is a good example of how
the Internet destroyed millions of jobs (sales executives,
distributors, printers) but created millions more (journalists,
writers, content creators).
If you live in Ethiopia, for instance, you can publish your
online newspaper and target Ethiopians living in the U.S.
Even if you get just 1,000 readers from each state, you
would have 50,000 customers. In the old economy this
would be difficult as the cost of distributing only 1,000
newspapers would be too high. If you couldn’t sell the
papers, you lost money. Unencumbered by printing or
distribution costs, you can quickly change your online
focus, from the U.S. market to London or Tokyo, for
You can see how you can add a lot more value to the world
via the Web. The process of printing, sales and distribution
has been automated, giving you more power. All you need
to focus on now is creating better content.
In many countries you needed a license to become a
journalist; on the Internet you already have permission to
write. You used to need a publisher to tell you your book
was worth publishing; on the Internet you can post
whatever you like. The only thing stopping you is your
mindset. And time — there are only 24 hours in a day, even
for Bill Gates.
Number of People You Can Impact
If our heart surgeon made $1,000 per operation and could
treat 10 people a day, he would make $10,000. If he could
help 100 people, he would make $100,000.
Bill Gates became one of the richest people in the world
because his software was able to impact millions of people.
The world’s richest entertainer, Oprah Winfrey, had a TV
show that was watched by millions.
An actor living in an African village might make a few
thousand dollars in plays at the local theater. Tom Cruise
might make $20 million in movies that play in cinemas
around the world. Millions pay. The African actor and Tom
Cruise both have to learn their lines, put in the same effort
and do the same work. But Tom Cruise impacts millions
and hence creates a lot more wealth.
For thousands of years, restaurateurs usually owned one or
two establishments, usually in their neighborhood, where
they keep an eye on them. The late Ray Kroc, who founded
McDonald’s, became one of the richest men in the world
because he came up with systems and processes that
enabled anyone in the world to run one of his restaurants.
There are now over 33,000 McDonald’s that employ
400,000 employees worldwide. Owning a system that
facilitated over 100 billion hamburgers to be served is more
lucrative than owning a small restaurant serving a few
hundred local customers.
McDonald’s does not own all its restaurants, but its system
allows entrepreneurs to run their own restaurants using the
company’s brand and formula for success. Kroc made his
fortune by finding a way to impact more people.
Again, I am typing this document using Microsoft Word.
Microsoft spent millions to create the first version of its
word-processing software. But each successive copy costs
next to nothing, requiring just a click of a computer button.
Yet Gates’ company makes $100 for each copy of Word.
Imagine how many millions of people around the world use
this software. Multiply that number by $100. That’s why
Bill Gates is one of the richest people in the world.
One reason an average American makes $45,000 per year
while an average Pakistani makes $1,500 is that American
companies impact more people. America has free trade
with its neighbors Canada and Mexico. Pakistan has limited
trade with India, even though deregulating would give it
access to a billion more customers. All 300 million
Americans speak the same language, English. Multiple
languages are spoken in Pakistan. America’s roads,
railways, airports and harbors make it easier to reach more
people, quicker. Pakistan’s transportation infrastructure is
not as sophisticated especially to remote villages.
Americans can also travel easier, making it easier to spread
their ideas and products across the globe. There might be a
Pakistani Bill Gates, but he is probably stuck in a line,
waiting for a travel visa.
Impact of the Web on Number of People
How can the Internet help you impact more people?
Imagine you were a journalist in Johannesburg before the
Web caught on. The only people who could read your
articles were South Africans, and even they had to pick up
the newspaper on the day your article was published. If
they were out of town or too busy to read the paper that
day, you got one less reader.
Now, as soon as your article is posted on the Internet,
people can read it, and not just in Johannesburg. Your
potential readership includes anyone with Web access, two
billion rather than a few million. People don’t have to read
your article on the day it is published, either; they can read
it any time, even in a few years, and anywhere, even on
vacation. The work you did to write the article is the same,
but now you have an asset that can bring in money (through
online advertising) for years.
Imagine you ran a great bakery in the old economy. You
would rely on word-of-mouth; that is, customers
recommending your bakery to their friends. Before mobile
phones and Facebook, people would keep in touch with
fewer people. Now, an average Facebook user has 130
friends. If someone has a great experience in your bakery,
he or she spreads the word online to hundreds or thousands
of potential customers.
In the old economy, it was difficult to get a food critic to
write about your bakery. A review in a newspaper or
magazine would attract more customers, but the number of
journalists was limited. Now you can approach one of the
thousands of food bloggers to write about your bakery. The
exposure should lead to more cake sales.
A local bookstore’s customers are limited to those within
driving distance. An online store such as Amazon can start
a website and instantly start serving the millions of book
lovers around the world.
There are only so many feet in a neighborhood, which used
to limit a shoemaker’s clientele. Plus, not everyone wanted
the same shoes, so the shoemaker had to produce different
styles. Companies such as Nike and Adidas made millions
for their founders because they were able to make
distribution deals to sell their shoes through retailers around
the world. Now an entrepreneur such as Blake Mycoskie
can launch www.toms.com and sell over 600,000 pairs of
It used to be that if you enjoyed a book and wanted to
recommend it to your parents, you had to write a letter, buy
a stamp and post it. A few days later, they would get your
letter and maybe buy the book. Now you can email a
hundred people at once, hit “like” on Facebook, or create a
short video review, upload it to YouTube and tell the world
about the book (this one, I hope). And those people in turn
can email another hundred people or hit “like” on Facebook
or spread the word in different ways. This is known as the
viral effect. A large amount of wealth has been created by
the viral effect.
The Internet gives you leverage, the ability to impact more
with less. If you spend days working on a great
presentation, you can now record it with a video camera
and post it online. You still use PowerPoint and deliver the
presentation to an audience, but with only one extra visitor,
the video camera, you can reach people across the world.
They can benefit from your presentation today, tomorrow
or next year and you don’t have to do any extra work.
What if you could hire one more salesperson? And what if
that salesperson could work all day, all year? That is what
the Internet does for your business; 24 hours a day, seven
days a week, it sells your product and services to anyone,
The Internet opens up trade for closed countries. Indians
can hire Pakistanis online, and Pakistanis can collaborate
with Indians; the governments haven’t blocked IP
addresses across borders — yet! Instead of lining up for a
visa, the Pakistani Bill Gates can spend his time exposing
his products to the world. Even the trade embargoes
imposed on Iranians are easier to circumnavigate through
The Internet breaks down political barriers and simply lets
entrepreneurs create wealth as governments can’t interfere
with ecommerce as they do with the rest of the economy.
More trade with more people leads to greater wealth for the
Number of People Who Can Do What
It is relatively easy to become a doorman. You can learn
the job in less than an hour. To become a good heart
surgeon, you need to spend years at medical school. Any
heart surgeon can become a doorman, but not every
doorman can become a heart surgeon.
Since heart surgeons are more rare, they can charge more
for their time. Superstar singers such as Celine Dion charge
over a million dollars to perform at a private party. Why?
Because there is only one Celine Dion. You can play her
CDs. You can even hire a Celine Dion look-alike to sing at
your party, but you will not pay her nearly as much as the
real Celine Dion.
This part of the formula also explains why protecting
intellectual property is important for creating wealth. In the
U.S., intellectual property rights are relatively strong, so
when an artist records a CD, it is illegal to copy it. The
singer and the record company earn revenue with every CD
sold. In the emerging world, intellectual property protection
is weaker. Cassette tapes, CDs and digital copies of an
artist’s songs are available everywhere for free. The artists
do not generate any money from CD sales, so there is little
incentive for them to promote their music or grow their
careers. If they can’t make enough money through live
performances, they might have to get a regular job.
Nike doesn’t sponsor many sports stars in emerging
countries, because there are so many Nike knock-offs on
the market. Nike doesn’t profit from advertising in
countries with weak intellectual property rights, and
without Nike’s sponsorship, athletes do not have the money
to play the sports they love for a living.
In the U.S. and the U.K. over 300,000 books are published
annually. Authors know they can make an income through
their book sales. In many emerging countries, books are
simply photocopied without recourse from the government.
There is no incentive for publishers to spend time and
money marketing books that can be copied for free. In
developed economies you can go to jail for photocopying
books without the author’s permission. Authors become
unique and thus can generate more wealth.
There are two types of goods: commodities and brands.
Gold, silver, copper and steel are examples of commodities.
You don’t pay much attention to brand, because the gold
from one seller is the same as the other. You buy from
whomever is the cheapest.
It’s harder to calculate the price for a brand. Someone
might pour you a drink that tastes exactly the same as
Coca-Cola, but if you know it isn’t the real thing, you
probably won’t enjoy it as much. That is why Coca-Cola’s
brand is worth billions of dollars. Shoes made of exactly
the same quality materials but without the Nike “Swoosh”
logo will sell for a lot less than branded Nikes.
Humans can also be commodities and brands. If you are a
commodity, you will make a relatively low salary. You
cannot be differentiated. For instance, if you work in a
McDonald’s, your salary will be relatively low as there are
millions of other people who can do your job. McDonald’s
training process has made it so that most people can learn
On the other hand, Pablo Picasso’s paintings sell for
millions of dollars. Someone else could paint the same
painting, using similar materials and techniques, but since it
doesn’t have Picasso’s signature on it, it will not make
anywhere near as much money. Some people might think
his paintings look like children drew them, but if you gave
them an original Picasso, they would probably hang it in
their house and tell all their friends. That’s the power of
This branding is essentially what celebrities undergo.
This is why you have to become unique to create wealth. If
I had sent you a one-page résumé claiming I was an
Internet expert, you might have put this book aside. But by
writing a book and getting you to read it, I have become
unique in your eyes. A book is one way for me to establish
authority as a leader in the Internet economy.
You, too, can become the go-to authority in your niche. If
you are in the world of fashion, you have to identify the
magazines and get them to write about you. You will then
be seen as unique, not just another clothing brand.
You can research blogs and books in your niche, then write
your own books and use them as your “Business Card 2.0.”
Books can be your calling card, which you can send to
potential clients. You can use your Business Card 2.0 to
attract media interest. A standard business card, résumé or
brochure is much easier to create, but it is not unique. Only
a few people take the time to create a book.
As the world becomes more competitive, you have to
differentiate yourself. A few decades ago it was difficult to
compete with Nike as TV advertising was expensive.
Nike’s founder established a brand, and became unique and
an authority on athletic shoes. Consumers trusted Nike to
provide high-quality shoes, so Nike could charge a higher
price than a commodity shoe company.
Water was also a commodity until companies such as
Nestlé and Evian came along. Now consumers pay
different prices for brands of water.
If you want to create wealth for yourself, you have to treat
yourself as a brand. Do you want to be just another film
director? Or do you want to build a brand like Steven
Spielberg has? Think about how you can start marketing
yourself, so that people trust you and your films (or
products and services).
Branding is another reason why developed countries win
and developing countries lose. If you were to put your
money in a bank account, would you put it in a Swiss bank
account or a Rwandan bank account? Would you buy a
Swiss watch or a Vietnamese watch? The Swiss have made
a name for themselves, even though not everybody Swiss is
great at banking or watch making. Unfortunately, the
brands of many emerging countries are not as powerful.
You might be an amazing Yemeni software programmer,
but since Yemen is not traditionally associated with
superstar engineers, it is harder to sell yourself in the global
market unless you can brand yourself better.
Like it or not, your name, gender, skin color and nationality
are parts of your brand. You would have different ideas
about this book if it were written by Tony Jones, Linda
Jones, Tyrone Jackson, Heinz Schneider, Fatima
Mohammed, Liu Chan or Deepak Patel, even if the content
were the same. When we can’t see people’s physical
appearance, we tend to stereotype them by the next best
thing: their name.
You may wish to change your name for instance Andrew
Warner of Mixergy.com found that his response was much
better than when using Shuki Khalili as having an
American sounding name got better responses. I also
rebranded Amir Ahmad to Amir Anzur to give a more
neutral branded and unique name.
There is also negative branding. You might set up the best
eCommerce site in the world, but if you are from Nigeria,
customers might not trust you. Only a handful of Nigerians
might scam people on the Internet, but the impact is felt by
the other 167 million. Trust in the Nigerian brand
plummets, making it harder for honest Nigerians to create
Every time there is negative news about your country in the
global media, it impacts your business. Consumers and
employers become more cautious about doing business
with people of your nationality. Terrorist attacks in
Pakistan might be carried out by just a handful of people,
but the headlines make it harder for the other 180 million
Pakistanis to get jobs, sell products and services or travel.
In the Middle East, Dubai has been able to create a
powerful positive brand. An Internet startup from Dubai is
more believable than one from Yemen, because people are
more familiar with Dubai than Sana’a. This makes it easier
for Dubai-based companies to do business than other cities
in the region.
Be aware of what the place where you live says about you
to the world. Help those around you to promote a more
positive image for your city or country. You might want to
make negative remarks about your leaders, but you could
end up hurting your brand if international customers
associate your country with its politicians. Bring positive
change to where you live and highlight its success, rather
than just reporting bad news (which traditional media love
to do to attract more viewers/readers).
You can beat brandism by letting people get to know you
better. People tend to be brandist if they don’t know
someone. Once they get to know an individual, they tend to
judge less. As you read this book, you are getting to know
Amir Anzur, so I have already differentiated myself from
the millions of other on the Internet.
I was able to break down stereotypes by getting you to read
this book. You are now focused on my words and are less
likely to care if I am short, fat, dark or white.
The great thing about the Internet is that it enables you to
be judged for your work rather than your looks. In the real
world people judge you on your weight or how you dress.
Multinationals look at your work visa before hiring you. I
call this passportism. I have hired people online as critical
parts of our team (designers, programmers, editors) without
even seeing a picture of them. As an entrepreneurs, I am
more concerned about their output than their looks.
We stereotype to save ourselves time. It would take forever
to get know a billion Chinese people, so we rely on the
impressions we got from the last Chinese person we met or
images we got from the media. Only if we visit the country
would we be able to discover the Chinese are actually a
billion individuals, not just one type.
We all stereotype because we don’t have time to get to
know everyone. It’s a short cut, and as long as you don’t
box people in based on their nationality, you can use
impressions to identify your expectations of someone. The
point is to be aware of who you are and how others might
perceive your brand.
There was a time when you would write a one- or two-page
résumé. If the employer liked your résumé, you could get a
job interview, and be asked questions for an hour or so. If
you passed the interview, you might be offered a job.
Through social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn,
Twitter, YouTube or your own website, you have the
chance to differentiate yourself from the thousands of other
people applying for the same job. Only 30% of jobs are
found through advertisements or postings, which means
70% are found through networking. If you create enough of
a brand for yourself, people will contact you.
Since you have more contacts through the web, your
chances of hearing about a job are higher. Remember:
Everything online says something about you. Like it or not,
more and more employers will check your Facebook profile
before hiring you. Even Facebook enables you to show off
Google receives over 20,000 résumés a week, but how
many do you think are actually read? Are most of those
résumés not a commodity? Building your personal online
brand can make you unique so you can charge a higher
amount for your services. Branding is critical to wealth
If you are the best heart surgeon in the world, you will
make much more money than an average heart surgeon.
Specialists make more money than general practitioners
because they have unique skills and are harder to find.
Relatively few people may need to see a neurosurgeon, for
example, but since there are so few of them, they can
charge more for their services.
In London, taxi drivers known as black cabs make over
$80,000 per year. The reason for their relatively high
income? The city has a quota on the number of black-cab
licenses. Since the supply is limited, these drivers charge
A security guard working in New York can make $2,000
per month. The same guard with the same skills in Nepal
could make only $100 per month. In the old economy, the
New York guard’s passport made him unique. If there were
a true free economy, many Nepalese security guards would
move to New York, driving salaries down to maybe $1,000
per month. But the U.S. government legislated that anyone
working in their country has to make at least $7 per hour
and pay taxes. They also controlled immigration so the
New York security guard could keep his higher salary
without fear of competition. Companies might have wanted
to hire Nepalese guards, but since they didn’t have U.S.
work visas they couldn’t.
Most online jobs are not limited by work visas. The
uniqueness that came from simply being born in the right
place is gone. People get jobs only if they deserve them.
If you asked me as an entrepreneur to choose between a
book-cover designer based in New York who charged
$1,000 or one based in Dhaka, Bangladesh who charged
$100, I would, of course, choose the Bangladeshi,
especially if his or her work was the same. Humans came
up with the concepts of countries and segmentation; the
Earth wasn’t created that way. The Internet is breaking
down those barriers.
Adam Smith, one of the fathers of modern economics,
wrote The Wealth of Nations in the 1700s. He believed the
division of labor or specialization was the key to creating
wealth. The Internet allows you to specialize. You might be
the best shoelace designer, but if there is no demand in your
village, you can’t make a living doing what you love. With
the Internet, if you can brand yourself as “The greatest shoe
lace designer in the world,” you can create wealth. This
specialization will attract a shoelace factory somewhere
else that desperately wants to work with the greatest
shoelace designer in the world.
If all of us have the same skills, the income we can earn
will be limited. If we all have unique skills, the wealth we
can create will be greater. On my team, for example, I
might hire someone to video edit, another to write the book,
another to market it and another to create a website. If all
four were video editors, there would have no need for three
of them, so I would just hire the cheapest.
Cost to Serve
McDonald’s became profitable because its food service
processes allowed it to get more output per employee than
its competitors. One employee could serve 100 customers
in the time a competitor could deal with only 70. In the
fast-food industry, labor is 70% of the cost, meaning
McDonald’s had more than a 40% lower cost-to serve.
Facebook has become one of the most valuable companies
in the world because its costs to serve are lower. Compare
Facebook to a magazine. Both business models are built
around advertising to readers.
Journalists write articles for a magazine, photographers
take pictures, and editors put the content together. Then
there are advertising salespeople and printing costs.
Distributors get paid to take the magazines to the
newsstands, cashiers to sell them.
Facebook gets people like you to provide status updates
and pictures for free. You are journalist, photographer and
editor, but you are not even getting paid for it! There are no
costs to print Facebook and content storage costs are
getting cheaper every year, dropping by half every two
years. Advertisers don’t need salespeople to convince them
of the right place for their ads. The segmentation of the
market users wants to aim for is up to them.
Instead of translating the magazine into several languages,
users automatically update their statuses in their own
language; the Portuguese see content in Portuguese, the
French see it in French, and the Arabs sees it in Arabic.
Facebook can do all this with fewer than 3,000 employees.
All that content for over 800 million people, updated 24
hours a day, 365 days a year. In the native tongue. No TV
station, newspaper or radio station has even a tenth of
Facebook’s audience, yet employ many times the number
This self-service model has benefited many companies.
Take a bank, for instance. A few decades ago the only way
to check your bank balance was to go to a cashier. The
advent of automatic teller machines (ATMs) meant the
bank did not need to employ as many cashiers. ATMs still
need to be installed and maintained in many locations,
though. With the Internet, people can serve themselves.
The bank saves a lot of money since it doesn’t need to pay
cashiers. There is less demand for ATMs since you can
access your account from your home computers.
The same goes for travel arrangements. You enter your
name, address and credit card number and select a flight.
You don’t need an agent to do this. This saves the airlines
the cost to serve you. They can keep this money as
additional profit or pass on savings to their customers. The
consumer gets lower costs, less chance of error and much
quicker service, which is available 24 hours a day, seven
days a week, from anywhere.
Online retailers have also lowered their costs to serve. In
the traditional economy, building a bookstore in a shopping
mall cost a lot of money. Then you had to pay rent and
electricity and hire staff. You probably lost a lot of money
through theft, too, and 70% of that came from your own
employees. Amazon can serve its customers from one large
warehouse in a remote area with cheaper rent and less staff.
The savings are passed on to customers.
The Internet also lowers the costs to employ people. For
instance, if you lived in the UAE pre-Internet and wanted
to hire a video editor, you would need to search the
Subcontinent, pay for candidates’ flights, obtain their work
visas and provide them with accommodation. Then, and
only then, could they get to work on your video. Now you
can go to websites such as oDesk.com or eLance.com and
hire people directly. If you live in a town with a few
thousand people, it would be difficult to find an amazing
software programmer, especially one willing to work for a
minimal wage. Now, you can easily find great talent in a
different part of the world.
To review: the population of Switzerland is 8 million. A
haircut there costs $45. The population of Pakistan is 180
million. A haircut there costs $1. The Swiss education
system is much better than Pakistan’s, and a few decades
ago this would have been a huge advantage for, say, a
computer programmer. But now, Pakistanis can access
MIT’s website (www.mit.edu), get all the university’s
lectures for free, and learn to code. If they need to get their
math up to snuff, they can visit www.KhanAcademy. org
and get lessons from kindergarten through Grade 12 for
free. A Swiss software company can choose prospective
employees from Pakistan, India, the Philippines, Kenya or
Egypt at a fraction of the cost. You can educate them and
have them working at the productivity of a local in no time.
Then you can pass on the savings to your customers or
increase your profit margins.
Nike’s founder, Phil Knight, is a billionaire because he was
able to get Americans to perform high-value work (creating
ads, sponsoring Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan) while
having low-level work (stitching shoes) done in places such
as Indonesia and Vietnam. The consumer got a great
product at a reasonable price and so the cost to serve was
lowered. You can apply the lessons of Nike to your own
cost cutting, by hiring some talent locally and some from a
different part of the world. For instance, Indians might
want to hire American voice-over talent so their videos
sound more professional, while Americans might want to
hire data-entry operators from India.
As the world becomes more globalized, many talented
people in emerging countries will make far more than
untalented people in developed countries. The talent, and
the marketing of that talent, rather than the color of one’s
passport will be the key to wealth creation.
Business can happen only once trust is established between
two people. Before the Internet, it took time to get to know
strangers and establish trust.
In the book Three Cups of Tea, author Greg Mortenson
quotes a village chief in Pakistan:
“Here [in Pakistan and Afghanistan], we drink three cups of
tea to do business; the first you are a stranger, the second
you become a friend, and the third, you join our family, and
for our family we are prepared to do anything – even die.”
Haji Ali, Korphe village chief, Karakoram
The Internet enables you to do business by drinking two
cups of tea instead of three. People can learn about you by
researching you online. You don’t have to repeat yourself;
once you start increasing your Web presence, people across
the world will feel they know you. This ultimately saves
you time, as trust is instantly established so business can
This book for me is like having a cup of tea with you. Once
you read it, you feel you can trust me more. We don’t have
to spend as much time getting to know each other, which
means less time with lawyers and more time doing
More and more people work as freelance agents now.
Developing relationships cost these people time, which is,
of course, a cost. Once a freelancer’s brands is established
on the Internet, the time he or she needs to start business
relationships decreases, saving everyone involved money.
Summary of the Simple Wealth Formula
Let’s revisit the Simple Wealth Formula:
Amount of Value You Can Add
x Number of People You Can Impact
- Number of People Who Can Do What You Do
- Cost to Serve
= Total Wealth Created
You can see how simple wealth creation is. You create
value for the world by doing what you do best (hairstyling,
graphic design, computer programming, making
hamburgers, entertaining or educating). The Internet gives
you more tools to do things yourself or connect with people
who can help you.
You have to appeal to as many people as possible, and
thanks to the Internet, two of the seven billion people on
the planet world are connected. You need to be unique, to
differentiate yourself from the other seven billion. And
through the Web you have more opportunities to find your
niche and establish relationships. There might be others
who can do your job as good, if not better, but you can
create a brand that people trust and want to be associated
Great brands such as Louis Vuitton, Nike and Rolex took
decades to create, and you, too, will have to think of the
long term. Connect with your fellow students while you are
still in school, as they are your customers, suppliers or
business partners of the near future. A brand is created one
person at a time, and your friends see you as a
Finally, look to decrease your cost to serve. You do not
have to buy everything locally because there is great talent
around the world available to help you at the click of a
mouse. There are also many tools on the Internet that can
drastically save you time and money.
5. FOUR TYPES OF WEALTH
In the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, authors Robert Kiyosaki
and Sharon Lechtor talk about the four types of wealth
1. Employee – these people have a standard salary and a
job working for someone else.
2. Self-Employed – these are the doctors or lawyers who
run their own practice. But if they are ever ill or don’t turn
up to work, they don’t make money.
3. Business Owners – these are the people such as Bill
Gates and Steve Jobs who create their own businesses.
4 Investors – these are people such as Warren Buffet who
have money work for them by purchasing a stake in other
You can create wealth no matter what category you are in,
but some have more limitations. If you are already on a
career path, determine who the richest employee is and how
much money you could make in that job. You will find
there is usually a limit to what you can earn. Being an
employee has many benefits, not least of which is a stable
income every month. If you love what you do, being an
employee is a good category to be in.
Self-employed people love the freedom of being their own
boss. They can choose the hours they work and the
activities they want to do. The only problem with most self-
employed people or freelancers is that they have limited
ability to scale. Again, if they are ill, they are not likely to
earn money. If they want to double their income, they need
to work double the hours or double their rates.
Business owners can start to scale their products and
services. Ray Kroc, the McDonald’s founder, was not the
hamburger chef at his restaurant. Instead he created the
systems and processes that allowed his hamburgers to be
served around the world. He made a little bit from each
hamburger sold. This category is where the likes of Richard
Branson, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates fall into.
Investors have their money work for them. For instance,
they give a startup $10,000 for a 20% stake in the
The Internet helps all groups. Employees can find better
jobs by searching sites such as LinkedIn to see who works
at the company they want to work at, connect with them
and send in their résumé.
The self-employed have better marketing opportunities.
Using sites such as Facebook, the self-employed can make
sure they are not forgotten. If you are friends with your
dentist and every time you log in to your Facebook account
you see his or her dental tip, you are not likely to forget the
person for your next visit. For the self-employed, it is
important to be seen as an authority in their niche. Would
you go to the average dentist or the best dentist you could
The self-employed can attract more customers by providing
free educational content. A dentist can set up a system that
shows a weekly three-minute video on how to take care of
your teeth. Although the dentist is giving free advice, it is
really a form of marketing. Customers are more likely to
visit a dentist they know and trust and more likely to
recommend him or her to their friends. The video helps
build the dentist’s clientele.
Business owners primarily use the Web to market their
company. They also use the Web to hire and train their
employees, reducing costs by hiring globally or using
software to manage more and more of their business,
allowing them to create systems and processes so
customers do more of the work themselves (e.g., booking
an airline ticket online rather than through an agent) and
monitor employees (e.g., monitoring sales performance
through tools such as Salesforce.com).
People who might not have had a chance to invest a few
decades ago can now afford to. To buy a McDonald’s
franchise costs anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million.
Then you have to rent space, hire staff and buy furniture.
Now you can start an online business with a few hundred
dollars. If you live in a richer part of the world, you might
invest in a startup in a poorer part of the world because of
the price difference.
When your idea begins to work, you can then scale it to a
richer part of the world.
This is where a big shift in the economy is happening.
People with safe jobs making a decent living are investing
in ventures around the world. In the old economy, people
such as Warren Buffet would buy shares in publicly traded
companies on the New York Stock Exchange. He
influenced decisions and made a profit if they grew.
You, too, can now search out entrepreneurs in a different
part of the world, invest money and take a stake in the
company. Once the idea proves itself in one niche it can
grow. If you are looking for investors, you need to create a
Web presence to convince potential partners. People do not
like to invest in strangers, but they will invest in
entrepreneurs they believe in. Instead of investing $10,000
in a huge company such as Google or General Electric in
which they have no control over the direction of the
company, they can invest $10,000 in a smaller company
and have more input.
Companies have become cheaper and cheaper to start,
making it possible for more and more ordinary people to
invest. The returns can be huge but the company can take
years to get off the ground. The Internet enables more
people to become investors or business owners, which is
where true wealth is possible. The collaboration of
developing-world entrepreneurs and developed-world part-
time investors is going to be a bigger trend. More regular
employees in developed-world countries will set aside $500
to $1,000 per month to hire intelligent, driven entrepreneurs
in developed countries to produce products and services for
their part of the world.
An easy way to start a business is to look for a problem to
solve. What software or service could solve a problem in
your part of the world? If you have a few hundred dollars to
spare, you can hire and train someone from an emerging
country to work on your problem. It’s usually more fun to
have a stake in a startup than a boring bank account
accruing less than 5% interest.
6. HOW TO CLONE
A few thousand years ago if you discovered how to start a
fire you would call people around you and demonstrate it
live. This limited the number of people you could tell about
your new knowledge since you would always have to be
there. There was only one of you, so you were limited to
the places that you could travel. Knowledge tended to stay
A few hundred years later, humans discovered how to
draw. You could now create cave drawings to show others
how to start a fire. You didn’t have to be there; you had
effectively cloned yourself. People could come to your
cave at their own convenience and get instructions on how
to start a fire. Your cave drawings taught, even when you
were not there.
Eventually we discovered pen and paper and could
handwrite instructions and communicate discoveries to
different parts of the world. Writing by hand was a slow
process, but Johannes Guttenberg made it cheaper and
more accessible in the 1440s when he invented the printing
press. Now you could write your instructions once, and
millions could receive your knowledge.
The radio came along in the early 1900s, and your message
could now be broadcast to millions, who could listen while
they went about their daily chores.
By the 1930s, TV was invented and now you could give a
live demonstration of how to start a fire. People could
actually see you. An even better clone had been created.
The printing press was relatively local. There was a cost
associated with printing so you would need to ensure there
was enough of a need before you went to press. While you
could now send your message to more people, you still had
to pay distribution costs.
Radio and TV stations also had costs. There was the cost of
recording and the cost to transmit the signal across the
country. There were only a limited number of licenses
given, and since governments meted them out, you had to
be careful what you said.
Few TV, radio stations or newspapers were truly global. If
you were Nigerian and living in South Africa, it was
unlikely you could listen to your favorite Nigerian radio
station. If you could not be at home at 9 p.m. to watch your
favorite TV show, that was it. Unless you had someone to
record it for you the show was gone forever.
By the mid-1990s, the Internet became available to the
general public. It was a combination of the printing press,
radio and TV, and, even better, you could communicate
with it. You could type your fire demonstration into a word
processor, download it on a podcast for people to listen to
in their cars, or videotape and upload it to YouTube. If your
audience got confused at any time, they could email you or
leave a comment on YouTube.
Your cave could be anywhere in the world, and you could
communicate with anyone. Advancements in technology
effectively allowed you to clone yourself.
Printing presses and radio and TV stations have
gatekeepers. Resources are limited; there are only so many
pages in a newspaper. Only one radio or TV show can be
broadcast at a time. The gatekeepers — newspaper editors
and radio and TV programmers — decided who was good
enough to go on air and the content that would appeal to
readers, listeners or viewers.
If the editor of a newspaper didn’t think your ability to start
a fire was a story worth printing, there was little hope of
you getting your idea across to the world. If a publisher
didn’t feel your book was any good, it wouldn’t get printed
and your ideas could not spread.
When the Internet came, space and time scarcities were
erased. Now there was unlimited room to print your story
(over 200 million blog posts are written every day). A site
such as YouTube allows anyone to post almost any content
(over 36 hours of video are posted every minute).
You no longer have to pitch to the gatekeepers, but can go
straight to your audience. Most big media stars used to live
in places such as Hollywood or New York City, since the
gatekeepers lived there.
Salespeople realize how important relationships are. The
more people, who know, like and trust you, the more you
are likely to sell. In the old economy you would make
relationships one at a time. In the Internet age, though, you
can clone yourself. You can update all your friends at once
on where you are and what you are doing on Facebook. In
the old economy, you limited your friends since you didn’t
have time to keep up with too many. With more friends
online, you can educate them on your products and
In essence, convincing people to buy is about educating
them about your product’s or service’s benefits. Many of
you who read this book, for instance, will become more
interested in the web and take a WebpreneurAcademy.com
course to learn more.
Steve Jobs cloned himself by launching new products on
multiple platforms. Many who watched his demonstrations
on their computer screens went out and bought the product.
The only problem with cloning is that most of us never
took media-training classes. Until a decade ago, you never
had to appear in photos or on TV unless you really wanted
to. Now, almost anywhere you go, someone has a phone
camera and can post a picture of you on Facebook.
Let’s say you wanted to learn basic trigonometry pre-
Internet. If you were lucky and had a good teacher, a small
enough classroom and enough confidence, you could ask
your teacher about concepts you didn’t understand.
If you had a lousy teacher, a huge classroom or lacked
confidence, you lost out. You would fall behind in
trigonometry, which would have an impact on your next
class and the class after that. You might begin to feel
stupid, your confidence would be shot and you would fall
even farther behind.
Teachers have been able to clone themselves and spread
their knowledge using the Internet. Sal Khan founded
KhanAcademy.org after his nephews wanted some extra
math tutoring. He wasn’t in the same city, so he recorded a
few lessons and sent them the link to YouTube. Before
long, other kids started watching the lessons, and Khan
went on to record over 2,000 video lectures covering
everything from kindergarten to Grade 12. Kids can watch
the lessons at their own pace, and replay them until they
understand the concepts. They can visit forums, ask
questions and get even more help.
The rate of innovation will get even faster. A few thousand
years ago before cavemen figured out how to spread their
ideas, the innovations would be local. As society
progressed, people could connect, but their messages were
still filtered by gatekeepers. Now people across the world
can share their knowledge and build on others’ knowledge
so that everyone can innovate.
As we read in the chapter for wealth creation, more
knowledge can lead to more value and more wealth.
Someone who is educated is likely to be a user of shovels
rather than teaspoons. Education used to be formal, take
place in schools and depended on exams. In the Internet
economy, you can learn from millions of teachers online
without having to take an exam or go to school.
The quality of teachers has improved, too, since the best
can clone. At the moment, most lessons are in English, but
as more people come online from other countries, they will
be more content in Swahili, Arabic, Korean, Hindi and
Urdu. If you want to truly help your community, you, too,
will need to become a Sal Khan or an Amir Anzur. Instead
of teaching a few kids in a classroom, you can reach
millions from your home.
I runs classes online. I have researched wealth- creation
content over the past few years that I believe every teenager
and adult should understand. I have live sessions in which
students from places such as Singapore, New York,
London, Delhi, Abu Dhabi, Sydney and Tokyo ask me
questions on launching their businesses. Students can all
look at the same website at the same time, something that
was not possible more than a decade ago.
This ability to clone themselves across the world in the new
economy will create a lot of wealth for not only
salespeople, but also for teachers who would have been
able to work with a limited number of students in the past.
7. LESSONS IN WEALTH
FROM PRE-INTERNET AGE
They say history repeats itself, so what are the lessons we
can learn from people who created great wealth in the past
century? In this chapter we list some wealth creators. If you
have not heard of these people or companies, we
recommend you familiarize yourself with them; obviously
the Internet makes it easier for you to research!
Oprah Winfrey became a billionaire and one of the highest-
paid entertainers of the last century, building a brand that
many knew, like and trusted. If Oprah lost all her money
today, she could become a millionaire again almost
overnight. She could partner with almost anyone to
promote a product and get a share of the revenues.
If Oprah were to approach me and offer to promote this
book in exchange for half the proceeds, I would gladly
agree, because any book Oprah promotes makes it onto the
best-seller list within a few weeks. She could have the same
deal with other producers.
You can become the new Oprah Winfrey. A Chicago TV
station gave her the chance to communicate through her
talk show. You have YouTube, and do not need anybody’s
permission to start your own show. YouTube actually has a
bigger global reach than any TV station that Oprah was on
when she started her career.
You do not have to be living in Chicago or Los Angeles to
connect with big celebrities. You can sign up for Skype and
start contacting celebrities in your niche. If you have a
large following or are good at interviewing, many will be
happy to talk to you. You can record the conversation and
upload it to YouTube. Skype is free. Connecting to
celebrities is free. YouTube is free.
Interviewing authors (usually looking to promote their
books) or businesspeople (looking for promote their
businesses) not only gives you great content, but also is a
great way to learn from the best. Over time, you will build
up a network of influential people.
Building a following takes time, which you have. Oprah
did her show for 25 years to build up her loyal following.
You need to start somewhere, but within a few years you
will have built up a following, which will result in wealth.
When you build a following, you become much more
important to society. Oprah has probably had more
influence on American culture and society than most
presidents who served during that time.
I often get approached with free products, services and
even sponsorships, just to promote things to my followers.
Once you become a person of influence, more and more
people will ask you to help promote their products and
services. Oprah did not become famous overnight. Many
people start on the Internet, don’t see immediate results,
and give up. Creating wealth on the Internet is a marathon,
with many sprints in the middle. If you want to be in this
game be prepared for the long term.
How TV Created Wealth
Think of an actor working a few hundred years ago –
before TV came along, the Tom Cruise of the 1800s. The
only way for the old Tom Cruise to make more money
would be to perform to a packed house every night.
There were three problems with this business model. First,
the old Tom Cruise would have to continually perform if he
wanted to make money. If he ever fell ill or wanted to take
a day off, he could not make money.
Old Tom’s target market was limited. He would work on
Broadway, so his audience was limited to the couple of
thousand New Yorkers who could fill the theater. If he
wanted more people to see him perform he would have to
tour different cities, and since those people hadn’t seen him
before, he would have to build his brand from scratch each
The old Tom would be stuck doing the same thing over and
over again. If he wanted to work on another play, someone
else would perform his old role — and make money doing
Thanks to TV and cinema, the Tom Cruise of the 1980s had
a much easier time creating his wealth. All he had to do
was act once. He could work on every scene until he got it
just right. And then relax. If he fell ill or took a few days
off, Top Gun could still be seen around the world. All he
had to do is visit a few TV shows to help promote his
movies. When he started working on his next movie, the
old ones still made money for him.
Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Springer, Steven Spielberg, the cast
of Friends and a whole lot of other celebrities have TV to
thank for helping them create vast fortunes.
The Internet will amplify the effect of TV. Now you don’t
need to be based in Hollywood to be able to clone yourself.
People can produce content that can be seen everywhere
and forever. Your movie can be seen at any time, rather
than the times set by a TV network or film distributors.
Revenues models are changing so that you can make
money from advertising or charge people to watch online.
Creative people around the world have a greater
opportunity than at any time in history to make money,
thanks to the Internet. The number of millionaires that TV
generated will be a mere fraction of the number the Internet
creates over the next few decades. But you will need to be
creative, not only with your filmmaking or songwriting, but
also with your business model.
You don’t even need a broadcasting license to start your
own TV channel. The Tom Cruises of the world will have a
lot of competition from “nobodies” like you and us over the
next few decades.
It is easier to learn the impact of a new technology by
seeing how a similar technology impacted history.
Knowing about a change that is coming, and taking
advantage of it, however, are two different things.
How McDonald’s Created Wealth
With over $24 billion of sales per year and 400,000
employees serving over 33,000 restaurants worldwide,
McDonald’s has become one of the most successful
companies. It generated wealth by creating a system that
looked beyond an individual restaurant. You can pay
McDonald’s to franchise its name and it will give you a
system for picking a location, training your employees and
Wealth creation is about creating systems. As you build
your business in the Internet economy, how can you build
systems so your business can grow? The Internet allows
you to systemize things so you don’t need to always be
there. For instance, Webpreneur Academy is our teaching
system. Teachers in the old economy make much less
money because they are not scaling their knowledge; they
always have to be in their classrooms.
Lessons from America
The U.S. is the wealthiest country in the world. One in four
dollars spent around the world is done so by an American. I
am not suggesting everyone follow the country’s business
model, but examine some of the factors that enabled it to
succeed in some things.
One of the keys to success is great communication
infrastructure. The U.S. built roads, railways and airports as
well as TV and radio stations. If you were an entrepreneur
and had an idea, you had plenty of methods to spread your
word. One of the reasons the top Internet companies
(Yahoo, Google, Facebook, eBay, etc.) are all based in
California is the amount of media coverage there. The
Social Network generated millions of dollars of publicity
for Facebook, for example. Many Hollywood movies show
an Apple in the background, which familiarizes audiences
with the computer and helps the company gain market
share. America has a culture of cross-promotion.
Notice, for instance, magazines such as Time and
Newsweek often mention Apple or Microsoft in their
stories. If you are based in a country such as Afghanistan,
you do not have many newspapers or websites, so there are
fewer people communicating about your product. Abdulla
the Afghan might have created Facebook before Mark